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tv   Amanpour Company  PBS  December 5, 2018 12:00am-1:01am PST

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hello, everyone. and welcome to "amanpour and company" here's what's coming up -- the french government blinks and suspends its fuel tax. paris is burning after weeks of demonstrations and macron fights to save his policies. plus, the angry backlash at 300 million migrants around the world. the u.n. migration chief calls on world leaders to manage this crisis because demographics mean they will need the workforce. also in july of 2014, sandra bland was arrested in texas for
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a traffic violation. >> i will light you up. get out. now. >> three days later, she was dead in police custody. now a new film "say her name" looks at bland's death and its angry aftermath.
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welcome to the program, everyone. i'm christiane amanpour in london. the french president emmanuel macron has been a beacon of hope to democratic leaders across the world seeking to answer the tide of populous nationalism that's surged since 2015 -- 2016. his election is a moderate outsider with a promise to reform and reinvigorate france was met with universal applause. as was working with president trump while calling him out if he fell short of america's commitments to its values and allies. the party seems to be over at least for now. macron's government is suspending controversial fuel tax hikes.
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the rising cost of gas and diesel fuel were at the heart of the demonstrations named for the high visibility yellow vests that french drivers must keep in their cars in case of emergencies. since they first fled last month, the demonstrations have shrunk in size but increased in violence. as extremists on the right and the left use them to further destabilize french politics. but it is not just rhode islands. the french working and middle classes feel frustrated and increasingly hopeless about the future. and they call macron the president of the rich. a french professor and political scientist and a longtime observer of the french state, i asked him about the iconic vests and whether macron's efforts to reform and make capitalism work for all stands any chance of succeeding. >> dominique, welcome to the program. so let me ask you this, can you
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first start with defining for me the yellow vests? what is the symbol? i know french people have to carry these things, but is there a political symbol to the yellow vest? >> there was none before they created it. and, in fact, it was a genius invention because everybody needs to have a yellow vest in one's car. and so it became the symbol of both emergency and unity. and now it's a symbol of revolt. you've ignored us. you elite, you consider we don't exist. we are nothing. well, you see us now. we have those yellow vests on us. >> so i want to ask you to react then to the prime minister. after several weeks of these protests, he has called them a pivotal moment for the presidency.
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>> translator: for more than three weeks tens of thousands of french people have been expressing their anger on round-abouts, tolls, near shopping areas or in the streets of many french towns. this anger has deep roots. it's been brooding for a while. it often stayed quiet out of reticence or pride. today it is being expressed with force in a collective way. one must be deaf or blind not to see or hear it. >> but it took them a long time to see and hear it. what position do you analyze the government to be in now? >> well, it came really too late and therefore was too little. i think the government was completely caught by surprise by what has happened. in fact, everybody was.
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we still are asking ourselves, is it may '68 or is it july 1789, the french revolution, as some yellow vest leaders seem to believe. >> dominique, you talk about may '68, and for those who may not know, it was obviously 50 years ago. it was that amazing spring and summer of protest. they spilled out of the universities and it was reflected in a way in the united states as well with anti-vietnam war protests, student protests around the world. so you're saying, though, that this is as significant as that? >> i believe so, but it's a very different may '68. it may '68 it was mostly initially about young people
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bored to death with society as it existed and went into utopia dreeping dreaming of cuba, dreaming even of china in france. in the united states it was about the vietnam war. but it was initially young people rebelling and in france asses.g hands with working today in november/december 2018 it is the may '68 of middle classes. middle classes that feel deeply frustrated by their economic and social condition. but it's about today the crisis of democracy meeting the crisis of capitalism. in fact, you are -- you have in berlin some people starting to wear yellow vests.
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it started essentially as a french movement, but it's the french version of what happened in great britain with brexit, in america with donald trump. >> so let me ask you then about president macron. his policies, his promises and his style. first and foremost, do you believe the french people when they elected macron back more than a year ago that they voted for his reforms, do you believe they voted for reform? and i'm going to ask you that because when i asked him literally just over a year ago what will you do when protests come out on to the streets, will you back down? this is what he said to me. listen to this. >> i will deliver. why? because i was very clear during my campaign about the reforms. i explained those reforms. i presented the reforms during weeks and weeks and was elected
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under these reforms. i do believe in democracy. and democracy is not in the street. so i'm very quiet on that and i think that at the very beginning of the mandate, you have a political catapult. you have to use it. i don't mind to be very high in terms of popularity. my country has to be reformed. i have 10% unemployment rate, i have almost 25% of persons -- my young people being unemployed. it's useless to have political capital and stay in a situation. so i'm passing reforms on labor market, vocational training, education, on investment, on training and education. a series of reforms. some of them on real estate because i have to deal with a lot of friends in this country, a lot of dysfunctional situations, but the suboptimal
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equilibrium, i would say. >> well, mr. moisi, what do you say to that because he laid out a very bold and determined plan and now, of course, three weeks into these protests he has, in fact, backed down. he seems to have given in. a six-month moratorium on the fuel tax, debate on taxation and other measures. so what should he do? on the one hand he said he must have reform. on the other hand he has given in to the anger on the streets. >> when i hear him speaking the way he did, i know why i voted twice for him. in 2017 he was my candidate. i was convinced france needed a bold, courageous, intelligent, charismatic person. and now we are wondering to
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ourselves -- i mean, is he paying the price for all the previous presidents that didn't do their job and that simply created an increase in the gap that existed between the people and its elite? what shall i say? maybe we collectively have underestimated the despair, the suffering, the anger of the french and therefore the difficulties to reform the country. and maybe we have overestimated the ability of macron to triumph over all these challenges. he's gifted with intelligence, he's courageous, he's
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charismatic, but was he mature enough to feel what was happening in his own country? was he too far, too aloof in his palace surrounded by young technocrats who had no real touch with the reality of the country down below? >> but, you said is he also paying for the mistakes and the failures of previous presidents not to address the vital necessity for structural reform at home? so my question to you then is, is it fair to hold him to account like this? if he doesn't do it, who will do it and how will it be done? how should it be done? >> no. it's unfair. he's largely paying for the failures of other presidents to confront the problem.
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their willingness not to face the issues, but we have to realize what's happening in france right now, it is happening in the streets of paris, in the streets of villages and cities around france, but it has a major impact on the future of europe. there will be european elections and france was supposed to be the carrier of hope. and european progress. what happens if it's no longer, if the president is, in fact, incapacitated to carry that message? and it's about the future of democracy. illiberal democracies are rising all over the world, and if macron fails the future of france risks being the present of italy today, and it's much more serious because we have a
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centralized state which plays a major role in the balance of power within europe. but make no mistake it is a french version of a much more global phenomenon. >> so then what is the answer, dominique moisi? you almost are saying this is on the brink of incapacitating this young president. that he may be enfeeble. that the project may fail. i remember clearly his own nearly appointed minister said do not mistake if he does not deliver, marine le pen is waiting in the wings. she has been very provocative, the far-right leader. she has even said, intimated that he may fire on his own people, said the most outrageous and provocative things in public. but how do you analyze then the power of the yellow vest and, and this a moment where the system or his presidency may
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fail? >> yes. in fact, there are people in france who believe seriously that the presidency of macron has already failed. ie, he may remain president but he will be incapacitated to pursue further reforms because he failed to perceive the seriousness of the suffering and the anger, and by failing to perceive that he acted too late, he did too little and it's over. we blew this last chance to carry reforms in a democratic manner. i hope this scenario, which is clearly the dark scenario, is the wrong one. i hope at the last moment the french will say, no, what's happening is too dangerous. i want to save democracy.
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we will make capitalism more human. we will create a kind of healthy, respectful dialogue between the elite and the people, between paris and the provinces. but it's very late. it's going to prove to be very difficult. >> it is vital, this. your cars use diesel. it's really polluting. your own city hosted the only global climate accord called the paris climate accord of 2015 and part of the responsibilities are to cut back on diesel cars. plus he also needs to do reforms. what are you saying he should have done butter to enact these vital reforms? >> well, he did the right things but probably did them in the wrong manner with the wrong style.
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he didn't realize people could perceive him as arrogant, as aloof, as full of disdain for ordinary people. that is where his weakness is. >> you know, you talk about illiberal democracy. we see it flourishing in hungary and partly in poland. you talk about having a better political ear and that maybe macron was too young. i remember sarkozy and others and hollande and others who caved and faced the same street riots against their reforms. i wonder what you make of international partners who want macron to survive because only he can do what needs to be done for france. here is jamie dimon, ceo of jpmorgan.
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>> so you've seen around the world bad governments and the outcome. you saw it in argentina, venezuela. after brexit we were all afraid what was going to happen. will europe pull apart or together? and then you have a man like president macron elected. he tells the truth, says the same thing to everybody, and is focussing on reform that will help the citizens of france and he's dead-right about it. he's strong, he's smart, and, you know, if you want to develop a country, you could be -- you could do a lot of things that simply don't work, but labor reform, having entrepreneurs, having a healthy financial system, creating jobs, so when president macron goes around and speaks to business leaders, he wants them to come here but he says help me lift up my society. >> what would you say to that today? >> the compliments of jamie dimon are fine except they're part of the problem of macron. he seems to be too much. the voice of the financial world
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and to a large extent i would say that it's capitalism itself that is behind the crisis that macron is facing. in 2007/2008, the financial industry launched product that led to the ruins of many of the customers of the banks without hurting the leaders of the bank themselves. eight years later, nine years later, donald trump was elected in the united states of america. it takes time for a cycle to develop, and to a large extent macron himself is paying the price for the explosion of inequalities that have erupted in the world in the last 10, 20
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years. >> so i guess it's kind of a pipe dream to expect that anybody in your country at this moment would accept what macron has recently said, and that was inevitability the results, the good results of my reforms would not have been seen for another 18 to 24 months. >> yes, but the problem is macron, and this is probably his major mistake, it's the time factor. he miscalculated the time factor. he didn't realize how desperate the french were or argent it was to give them something. and he gave something to the rich before giving something to the poor. and the poor resented it even more so.
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the balance of this, at the same time i give something to my right, i give something to my left. it didn't work in macron's case. because it looked too imbalanced in time. >> dominique moisi, thank you so much no joining us. >> thank you for inviting me. >> and like so many european countries france's political climate was tense even before the yellow vest demonstration as far-right extremists used the mass migration crisis to rally support for their nationalist causes. now in an unprecedented move the united nations is trying to create a global compact to better manage the problem knowing that migration is not only here to stay but many nations need the workers. but a growing number of countries are refusing to cooperate and from the outset the u.s. wouldn't even sit at the table. as a u.n. veteran and the current migration chief, louise arbour has been at the helm of these negotiations. when she joined me this week, we explored the rational and real way this could be managed if
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short-term politics didn't keep getting in the way. louise arbour, welcome to the program. >> thank you. >> so i want to start by asking you about migration into the united states because that is where we're speaking to you from. of course this caravan situation, the invasion president trump has described these central american migrants as has taken a weird kind of turn. first and foremost, we've had tear gas directed at them, but there is a process they call metering which slows down the entry into the united states and i think forces them to wait their turn inside mexico. it is the kind of migratory policies that you'd like to see under your current brief? >> well, i think the first thing that i think is important to keep in mind is the whole world now is preoccupied with global issues. you know, climate change,
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technology, human mobility. you know, to have whatever it is, 5,000, 10,000, 15,000 people trying to enter a country of 330 million, not exactly a crisis. we're looking at human mobility all over the world in all kinds of different circumstances. a lot of confusion between refugees and migrants. as you know, refugees are covered by the 1951 refugee convention. they are entitled to have their status determined when they make an asylum claim and if they are successfully assessed as being refugees, they're entitled to international protection. and in contrast there's about 250 million migrants, that is people who live, who have moved and live and settle in a country other than their country of birth. this is what we need to manage better. this whole factor of human mobility. >> so do you class the central
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americans fleeing from their countries as migrants or refugees? >> actually most of them will make an asylum claim because by the time they arrive at the border there's no other legal channel for them to enter. some of them probably actually qualify for refugee protection. others may see their claim dismissed, in which case they either will be given an opportunity to stay in the country through some other status or they will be asked to return home. so you cannot determine their status until -- until the process for determination has been put in place. >> so let's now talk about how you manage this era of human mobility and migration. let's put aside for a moment the refugees who are fleeing war, pestilence, poverty and all those kinds of things and may or may not have their asylum
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granted. you at the u.n. have their global migration pact that you're trying to implement, but it seems that so many relevant countries are dropping out, pulling out. the u.s. doesn't want anything to do with it. europe, quite a few countries don't want anything to do with it. so what is the home of getting some kind of global compact, as you said, migration depends not just on the country but its neighbors as well. >> that's right. it's a collective effort that has taken place very much under the impetus of european countries who after 2015 were starting to feel that they were losing control of their borders. it's a very comprehensive document that looks at everything from reducing the drivers of migration, providing better employment conditions for migrants who are often the subject of discrimination and exclusion. it deals with remittances, the money that migrants send back to their home country, which is an
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enormous influx of money that supports development in the developing world. so this global compartment is an agreement essentially by member states to cooperate towards manager better this human mobility. it's very disappointed that the u.s. decided not to participate, even at the outset, even before seeing the first draft of the proposed document for negotiation and it's very disappointing that some european countries who were very engaged in the negotiations, who actually agreed on the text after extracting concessions from others in july are now in some cases backing off or not certain anymore that they want to be part of it. >> but these are the countries, the united states and the european countries, many of them are frontline countries who have had to deal with the brunt of migration over the last several years. if they're pulling out, the
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question really is, how does this move the ball forward? i want to you react to what hillary clinton has said. if someone of her more progressive and liberal policies can say the following, i wonder what hope there is. she has said europe needs to get a handle on migration because that is what lit the flame. it's fair to say europe has done its part and must send a clear message we are not going to be able to provide refuge and support because if we don't deal with the migration issue it will roil the body politic. what do you say to that? >> well, the first thing i say is that reflects, once again, the confusion between refugees and migrants. to talk about the brunt of giving refuge deals with the agreement made in 1951 that people who are persecuted at home will be entitled to international protection. that can be seen as responsibility-sharing or burden-sharing. this has nothing to do with the fact that the western world, europe, the u.s., canada, japan,
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will face all the demographic projections are crystal clear. very serious labor shortages in the decades to come. and, therefore, it's in their interest -- this is not a question of burden, this is a question of self-interest. a lot of western countries, a lot of others will have to import a workforce, a labor force. the sooner we get in place cooperative arrangements for matching the labor market supply and demand, train the appropriate people in developing countries, whether it's in agriculture sector, in the care industry, in manufacturing, to meet what are going -- what are today and will be the demands for skilled and unskilled workers in the western world. that's what migration is about. so to talk about how much we can share of the burden, frankly, misses the mark altogether.
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the a lot of my fwrags is a self-interested economic motor for development and prosperity. >> as you said yourself 2017 was the year political rhetoric concerning this issue became particularly nasty and you said leaders have used deliberately language poisoning the atmosphere. of course we know many of the european leaders have talked in the most terrible terms about foreigners coming in and so has president trump. so how are you going to get a rational managed migration policy for the future past this language of populism and nationalism and nastiness? >> well, you know, this was obvious right from the outset of this exercise. until recently the u.n., as an international body, was unwilling to talk about human mobility.
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we could talk about capital and goods but the movement of people was off limits. it was seen as a bastion of state sovereignty. we've come a long way, i think. these negotiations have led to agreement on the text show if we can inject a rational discourse into this issue it becomes very clear -- the compact itself makes clear this in no way infringes on state sovereignty. every state can adopt whatever migration policy they wish. and i think for all the noise that some are making the reality is everyone agreed except for the u.s. who did not participate. but on july 13 of this year after six months of negotiation, everybody understood the value of this exercise to harvest the benefits of human mobilities and to manage its obvious challenges and downsides. chaotic, disorderly migration is bad for everybody, bad for
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migrants who die often. it's bad for host communities. it's bad for governments who have people working in their economy and don't know who is in the country. but safe, well managed migration is good for everyone. it makes sure that what is done is done in a cooperative, orderly fashion. so changing the narrative is quite critical. again, pushing back on the confusion between refugees and migrants and speaking in sober terms about the benefits of well-managed migration is what this process is all about. >> so, again, a really noble intention and a very practical one and clearly a very necessary one, but you say every country except the u.s. acknowledged the reality, adopted the certain points and language in the summer, but i spoke to the hungarian foreign minister in the fall, in september, and this is what he said to me about his country's basic complete and total lack of desire to invite or allow migrants in. just listen to this.
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>> we have been a christian condition for a millennium and i don't really understand why it is bad news that we want to change that and i don't understand why is it bad or why is it unacceptable that we would like to stick to our history, to our culture, to our heritage, to our religion. >> yikes! he's basically, i don't think, the kind of partner you are describing. >> well, actually, hungary made that position very clear throughout the process, and i have to say the day after the text was agreed upon, it with drew. it said although it had been present throughout, it was not interested in continuing. the hungarian foreign minister attended the negotiations. he said many times in very explicit terms migration is a bad thing, it is stoppable and it should be stopped. well, that might be the hungarian position. if you go to the gulf countries where 80% of the country is
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foreign workers they would find that position very troubling. or if you say that to countries like canada. so what this global compact does, and in my opinion, this is the right position, it doesn't say migration is a good thing or a bad thing, it's just a thing. there are currently in the world today, 3.4% of the world's population who are migrants, who live and settle in a country other than their country of birth. that's up from 2.7% in 2000. it's unlikely to decrease, considering the growth of the world's population, the ease of communications and transport and the need to distribute the workforce more appropriately. so migration is not a good thing, it's not a bad thing, it's just a thing. the global compact does not promote migration, it does not discourage migration, but it takes a very firm line that chaotic, dangerous migration is
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a bad thing. but well-managed migration fully respectful of state sovereignty has to be a good thing. it seems to me that's where we have to stand against this kind of rhetoric that seems to characterize this effort as an attempt to force a kind of change of identity in any particular country. >> and what about the -- i mean, the rhetoric around the identity of a particular country, but also the rhetoric around the motives of the migrants. you have said, for instance, that humans are overwhelmingly sa sedentary. most will stay unless they intervene. the hungarian foreign minister said to me that he thinks migrants just wake up one day, pick countries like sweden and germany and just decide they want to live there. is that an issue that you also have to iron out? the rhetoric around the motive of migrants? >> this is the very classic politics of fear. you know, this kind of
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suggestion that given a chance, the whole of africa would move to the scandinavian countries. there is absolutely no basis whatsoever to believe that, and in any event the world is ordered in such a way that states can, again, in a cooperative spirit manage migration flows. the reality -- i think the best example is take places in which there are now barriers. take a country like the united states, for instance, anybody in any state can move to any other state. well, the people of wisconsin don't all move to california and the people of north dakota don't all move to new mexico or florida or new york state. they can. most people, quite obviously, have ties to their -- to their place of birth. they have ties to their community. they have family ties. they have cultural ties. and given a choice, most of them, we know it from what is actually happening, will stay in their environment.
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if they're forced displacement through war, persecution, increasingly possibly climate change, the slow onset of decertification, this may trigger and we must be prepared by that. some people move by choice. they fall in love. they have educational opportunities and then they desire to settle elsewhere. as long as this is consensual and well-managed, honestly, i think the history of the success of many countries, including the u.s., is the best example of how well-managed migration is to everyone's benefit. >> louise arbour, you are about to retire from a long and ill plus illustlious u.n. career. before you were head of the migration effort, you were many years ago one of the first chief prosecutors at the u.n. tribunal for the former yugoslavia. as such you put down the first major indictment against one of the leaders there, slobodan
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milosevic of serbia. what was it like being a woman, being a fairly diminutive woman, i might say, coming across all these, you know, mad, thug-like war lords who were committing genocide and ethnic cleansing? did you feel sometimes underestimated? give me a sense of how you felt doing that particular work. >> quite honestly, i don't have a lot of insight into what my personal circumstances were. but in the end i think we were -- i think we were successful in discharging the mandate of bringing to account those most responsible for the most horrendous crimes. so i don't know what my personal circumstances i don't think were all that relevant. >> i read an anecdote where you came across -- you were in discussion with some of them and somebody was saying something in their own language and you said, you know, what is he saying? and he said, well, she's so
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small and yet she's so scary. >> good. that's exactly the way you want people to think about you, that you are -- how can you be so scary? you're so small. well, that's how scary you want to be. >> louise arbour, thank you for joining me. >> my pleasure. good to talk to you. >> indeed, scary in the search for justice. but now we focus on a more intimate struggle for closure by one american family. sandra bland's death became a flash point for protests back in 2015. she was arrested during a traffic stop in texas, and 72 hours later, after being taken into custody, she was found dead in her cell of an apparent suicide. she was only 28. three years later her family is still trying to figure out what happened to her. a mission that's been documented by the film, "say her name: the life and death of sandra bland,"
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which premiered on hbo this week. michel martin sat down with her sister who is determined to keep her sister's story and her name alive. >> kate davis, sharon cooper, thank you so much for talking with us. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> tell me about your sister. tell me about sandra. >> sandra was one of five girls, she's number four in the pack. so someone who always wanted to make sure that her voice was heard. as you can imagine, there's a lot of voices around, female voices at that. you want to make sure that your opinion is heard. she was an aunt. she has ten nieces and nephews. really just a brilliant person. very smart, intellectually vocal, very talented. >> why was she driving to texas? >> sandy moved back from texas about three years prior to 2015. she had gone to school there, stayed there for a little bit
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and was driving back because there was an opportunity for her to work as a student ambassador in one of their offices down there. she was also making plans to go back and get her master's in political science. she had actually only been in texas for one day before she was stopped. >> how did you find out that something terrible had happened? >> i found out on that monday afternoon. i'll never forget it. i had all of these missed calls, call after call after call. i'm like, something is wrong, not even thinking that it was that, but found out from my younger sister who is right underneath me, i just ended up calling her back first because she was the person who hat recently called me and she just told me that sandy was dead. i just hit the floor in my office at work. colleague come in and ask me if i remember wailing and having a colleague come in and ask me if everything was okay and i could not even keep it together. >> kate, how did you get connected to this story? >> well, the dash cam which showed sandy's arrest had gone
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viral almost instantly after she passed, and so i knew about the story and at that time hbo called my partner and me and asked if we might want to do a full-length film on this. we approached the family. they met with us and they had to, you know, take the leap of faith that we would tell the story evenhandedly with compassion, listen to them, let them lead the way in terms of voice being, you know, heard fairly. >> what the public originally saw was the dash cam video of the police stop where sandra was pulled over for failure to signal a lane change and it escalated into this confrontation that was very ugly. >> why am i being apprehended? you're trying to give me a ticket for failure -- >> i said get out of the car. i'm giving you an order. i'm going to drag you out of here. >> you're going to drag me out of my own car? >> get out of the car! i will light you up. get out! >> wow.
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>> now! get out of the car! >> for failure to signal. you're doing this for a failure to signal. >> get over there. >> right, yeah. yeah, let's take this to court. >> go ahead. >> for failure to signal. for a failure to signal. i can't wait until we go to court. i cannot wait until we go to court. >> from your standpoint as a journalist, what were the questions that you came in with? >> well, i mean, i think the dash cam speaks for itself largely. you see this escalating situation, which leads to sandra being put into a small town jail for what ended up being three days. the lingering questions come, i think, around -- are centered around some of the protocol in the jail. she wasn't checked on when she should have been every 24 hours. she wasn't, you know, she had said that she had a history of suicide and they didn't have any, you know, mental specialist -- >> no mental health checks. >> right. mental health checks. she had a trash can liner made of plastic in a jail cell where
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she was isolated, you know, in solitary confinement for three days. this is a jail cell where they'll take your shoelaces away so that you can't hurt yourself. so those are just a few of the questions. they, you know, were supposed to check on her every 45 minutes, 50 minutes, and the jail records, as people will see when they see the film, you know, were actually sloppily kept, inaccurately kept, so we don't really know what happened. >> i want to play a clip in the film that speaks to that, and this is i guess why you feel that -- let me just play that clip. >> the texas rangers walked us through footage, so they claimed anyway, of the jail. we were looking trying to see where sandy was. i didn't see her ever. >> the video that we viewed when we went down, it was only for
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the morning of monday, july 13th. there's no time stamps, there's no date. her cell was all the way in the back corner. she was in cell number 95. the way they chose to phrase it is "where she was did not have cameras." but i would think that that would be strange. how are you monitoring your inmates? why was she in a cell by herself? that's a big cell for one person. and when they were wheeling the gurney out, i went, whoa, she is going to be on the gurney, right? oh, no. she wasn't on the gurney. she was not on the gurney. >> sharon, do you have a theory about what happened? >> i have to be honest with you, i wish i did.
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the position that i sit with and quite frankly that my family sits within is that unfortunately we'll never know what happened because i do believe that the person who can tell us what happened is no longer here to share that information with us. i think there was an immense amount of negligence involved there. i think there was an immense amount of misinformation that was shared with us and that created this level of distrust and this discourse where we have to consistently question everything that they told us. >> why was she in solitary confinement? >> that's an excellent question. >> you don't know? >> no, i absolutely know. remember, she was charged with an assault and so that put her in a felony category which changes the course of how you are cared for and situated in the jail. they put her in solitary confinement because it was communicated in the field that she was combative and made physical contact with a peace officer, which is what they
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called it, which was completely unfounded based off of what he wrote on his report and when you bring someone in who is combative you're supposed to re-assess them after a 24-hour period. she wasn't combative when she was brought in. so what's supposed to happen is you're supposed to put someone in with gen pop essentially after a 24-hour period, which they never did. and i do have a theory about that. >> which is what? >> which is this. i do believe that the intent was to punish her and to teach her a lesson. you have this interaction, this alleged interaction that happened in the field and we have law enforcement officials and jailers who work closely together, and so the thought is if you have gotten out of line in the field then we're going to put you back in your place here, and that's all a part of locking someone up on a friday evening. >> i was going to ask, why was she there for three days? >> limited resources to get them out. whether it's resources from the state level in terms of getting a judge and magistrate to come
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in. two, people need to understand she was in texas and all of her family was in chicago. every single last member of her family. so, yes, there was an initial call which we responded to within a 24-hour period, but i think it's important for people to understand families can't pick up the phone and call the jail. this notion that people would say, well, why didn't you call her back. who do you think can pick up the phone and call a jail and say, can i speak to so and so, right? so there is this whole miscarriage of justice, if you will, and this whole frustration around just the lack with which they handled things, the sloppy nature in which they took care of the whole situation. >> i don't want to glide past the issue, though, of she had had a previous suicide attempt. that is correct? >> based off what she disclosed to the jail. >> so does that make it plausible that she may have, in fact, taken her own life here. that she was so, for whatever reason, she was so distraught by the behavior, by the treatment
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that -- does that change anything? >> i don't -- i mean, i think we've always shared that we've been open to all possibilities, and i think what we have asked in return is that we are finitely shown that and we weren't. literally every little thing that they shared with us on the phone from the -- you know, prior to us getting there was unfounded and they couldn't provide that information to us to support the claim that they made. so to that end i think that if in the event that it were a possibility, it still goes to the heart of when you are under someone's custodial care, they are responsible for you. >> so the two issues, as i see it, is, first of all, that sandra was in their custody and she had disclosed that she had had a prior suicide attempt. they should have taken steps to care for her. >> agreed. >> and they didn't. so that's one issue. but, kate, you were raising another issue, and you spoke about that in the clip, which is, why was she treated that way
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to begin with? and so what's your -- what's your theory about it? >> i guess my theory, really, is that i wouldn't point the fingers personally at any one person in the jail. i don't necessarily think there is a bad guy who came in and took her life. there's no proof of that. on the other hand, i think that everybody involved, they're all part of a larger system which allows for this kind of callousness and dehumanization to take place. and i think it's, you know, i hope the film is a conversation starter around that, that law enforcement needs to look at themselves. why, you know, something like this can happen. >> what does the hashtag mean? say her name. you borrowed from the hashtag for the title of the film. say her name. why do you think that took off? >> in the earlier half of 2015, the african-american policy forum, they actually established say her name as this effort to amplify the voices of women who were being impacted by
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state-sanctioned violence but who weren't getting the amount of attention and exposure as black men were. i think why we took on the moniker of say her name is really to continue to amplify the notion that this is happening to women, black women and girls at an alarming rate. and for a litany of reasons, i do think that women in this country are seen as second-class citizens and even a lower tier if you are a woman of color, right? so to be able to -- so to, again, have someone who was so outspoken, to have somebody who left this digital footprint, if you will, for us to learn from her and to be able to not just amplify her story and say her name, but, again, to highlight the names of so many others who haven't gotten that recognition, and i think it was women who were saying, you know what, say her name and don't forget what her name is. i think that it was so important to pay homage to that movement in that way. >> i'm asking you this as a journalist. you followed all of this.
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what investigation actually occurred and what did the authorities tell you about that investigation? >> you know, there were levels of the investigation that we were not privy to and there were many things that went down with the texas authorities that we really still don't quite understand. and it's just -- it's not an easy thing to answer. what the district attorney and sheriff smith told us is that, you know, they were trying to do their best and sandra was sad and she was abandoned and she was, you know, a marijuana smoker and things that were kind of blown up a little bit in the news that turned out to be somewhat false and irrelevant. but in terms of what happened on a forensic level, why her core body temperature was not taken at the time of her death, why there was no dna that was found on the noose, you know, there
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are some flagrant pieces of evidence that still are murky. >> as i understand it, there was a settlement with the family. >> mmm-hmm. >> is that -- is that abiliccur >> that's accurate. there was also a perjury charge. >> there was a challenge but those charges were later -- >> ultimately dropped. >> dropped. a perjury charge related to how the officer -- >> which was a slap on the hand. the way he wrote his report. >> described the circumstances of the report. and i wonder, how does all of that sit with you? >> oh, it's infuriating. it's infuriating, largely because that is the exact opposite of what we wanted, was this consistent accountability, right? like, there is a difference between an indictment and a conviction, and what families who are impacted by police brutality want is they want a conviction. people need to be held accountable for their inability to do their jobs effectively. to the degree that it takes away a loved one. so, quite frankly, not thrilled about it at all, and the fact that he, you know, he won't work
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in the state of texas again as a law enforcement official, but that doesn't necessarily mean he won't hop over to a different state and work as a law enforcement official. he just doesn't need to be engaged with the public in that way. as far as i'm concerned and i don't have a problem saying this to you, he is responsible for sandra's death. he is along with the jailers who failed to do their jobs appropriately. i have no problem saying that. i know i feel that way. my family feels that way. >> people in law enforcement feel they are unduly criticized, there is a lack of respect for what they do. i'm interested in what you have to say to them. >> i have to tell you, we don't have a police problem. i'm not anti-police. we are not anti-police. we're anti-police brutality. that's what we are. and we're anti lack of police accountability. so what i would say to them is this, this is a dual conversation. as equally, as equally as you are trying to make it home to your families and loved ones because i very much want that for you, i very much want that for the young man, for the young woman, for the young boy, for
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the young girl that you encounter on your journey. >> why do you think that this encounter as you put it went viral? why do you think people had such a strong reaction to it? >> i think without a shadow of a doubt, she's a woman. she's a woman. i think there is a level of desensitization thate've seen, unfortunately, when it comes to the takedown of black men who are seen as inherently scary and evil and not good, and i think that black women are seen through that same vain, it's just through the angry black woman lens, right? so you have this man who is, quite frankly, towering over this woman with the misuse of his power, right? not towering over her in stature because that's something that she didn't have a problem with. so i think it was that, and i think you also had someone who actually knew what they were talking about and you can hear it throughout the dash cam video where she's talking about she knows what her rights are and she's asserting herself and telling him what she has and what she does not have to do, and so i think a lot of people
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saw themselves in her -- either saw themselves as sandra or saw their sister or their best friends. >> kate davis, sharon cooper, thank you both so much for taking with us today. >> thank you. >> that is really powerful and important testimony from sandra's family. and we'd like to point out that local law enforcement were also part of kate davis' documentary about sandra bland's death. the sheriff in charge of the jail continues to deny any legal wrongdoing but he's acknowledged the jail failed bland's family as a matter of moral responsibility. does that sound like an apology? not yet. and that is it for our program tonight. thank you for watching "amanpour and company" on pbs and join us again tomorrow night.
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♪ ♪ - this week on milk street, we find ourselves in the gugulethu township in cape town, in search of authentic south african barbecue. in fact, we're looking for the world's best recipe for piri piri chicken. then we go to the bo-kaap neighborhood for a lesson in how to make cape malay curry. it's leaner, cleaner, and brighter than traditional indian curry. so stay tuned for the cooking of cape town, right here on milk street.


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